Recently I had a conversation with a very dear friend. She said to me, “I don’t know where you guys get your energy! Looking at your pictures on Facebook, you exhaust me!” And it’s very true. We are a very busy family of five…but that’s not all of it.
Busy yes, but not because we have to…we want to. We need to be. Before Olivia was born, my husband and I were very active with our two older children. We spent a lot of time outdoors participating in activities like fishing, swimming, skating, hiking, etc.
Then Olivia came along and doctors tried to tell us about her limitations. They focused on so much of what she wouldn’t be able to do, there was no reinforcement of hope. Something inside me rejected their opinions…I refused to believe she was incapable! I know they probably felt they were preparing us for the worst, but why do that? When you plant the seed in a person’s mind that they can’t succeed, they will believe this and never try.
So my husband and I made sure Olivia had every opportunity. We needed to try for her! We knew of her limitations, but we still seen ability in what she did have. And what that was, it was determination and the hunger to learn.
We took her fishing with us. Many times we would carry the fishing gear and her in her wheelchair through paths and along shorelines. We would take turns helping her hold a fishing pole and she would light up with excitement when the fish would bite on her hook! Her siblings loved bringing over the fish they had caught and letting her touch the scaly body. Believe me, these trips or adventures weren’t always easy, but really…is anything in life? Easy is not in our vocabulary. Easy would be to give up on our daughter, easy DOESN’T exist in our vocabulary!
Olivia experiences everything with us. That’s it….no ifs, ands or buts. It’s that simple. If she can’t experience it with us, then we don’t do it as a family.